In the aftermath of AJ Burnett's 5 year/$82 million dollar contract sits LHP Oliver Perez. Aside from Derek Lowe, Perez is the best free agent pitcher left on the free agent market. Perez has developed from a maddeningly inconsistent pitcher with great stuff and bad control to a somewhat inconsistent pitcher with great stuff and very good control. Sure he will have his bad moments, but Perez has come along way since 2006.
When I look at Perez's body of work and potential body of work, I can't help but think about AJ Burnett. Both Perez and Burnett are good pitchers right now, but both guys reek of potential and future ace. Because of their dominant stuff, Burnett and Perez can be frustrating to watch because each guy should be much better than he already is. When Burnett and Perez are on, each guy is nearly un-hittable.
And as we saw this week, teams will pay for potential. Even though Burnett is 32, the Yankees are banking on Burnett continuing his development to be a front line pitcher. For all his injury history, Burnett still got $82 million dollars because of his potential. It would not surprise me to see a team (over) pay Perez in the hopes that he furthers his development to ace status.
Furthermore, Perez is a durable pitcher with no history of major arm injuries. That's a major plus for Perez, especially given his age (26).
So Perez should have no problem getting the money he craves, right?
I'm not too sure. What team out there actually has the funds to give Perez the 5 years/$70 million he is looking for?
-The Yankees are set
-The Mets won't pay that much for Perez
-Red Sox don't need him
-The Braves are not signing any major free agents
-The field...? Royals? Orioles? Texas? Dodgers?
Where is this money going to come from? The only team out there right now that should have a desire to sign Perez is the Mets, who will not give Perez the contract he desires. This market is just not a strong one for Perez.
I would love to see Ollie re-sign with the Mets for 1-3 years. He has always dominated the Phillies and would be a nice fit as the Mets 3rd starter. But at this point, I think that's a bit of a pipe dream. It seems as though Boras has his sights set on a big contract for Perez, which should be a major test for the super agent to achieve.
It's amazing that AJ Burnett has three teams throwing big offers his way, but Oliver Perez has too sit back and wait for his market to develop. Ironically, their statistics are not too different over the past two seasons, which makes the inactivity on the Perez front even more puzzling.